Lower back pain

by Robert
(Lexington, SC)

Hi. I have had lower back pain for at least 5 years now. The first time I really noticed it was a night after I had been breaking limbs for the fireplace by leaning them against a tree and stepping on them hard with my right leg to break them. I suspect that was the initial culprit. The pain has never really gone away even for a second, but it doesn't always hurt a lot. Most of the time it just feels like a headache but in the back and only gets bad after doing work all day or standing on a hard floor all day.

The thing that makes the pain unbearable (and even hard to stand back up straight) is if I do some activity where leaning forward for a long time is required (cleaning fish, putting down flooring, even washing dishes at times). The pain is in my lower back almost where it meets my backside.

It's mostly pain slightly to the left of the spine, but sometimes all the way across. Leaning to the right is much worse than leaning to the left. Sitting doesn't usually result in pain, unless I don't use good posture. Laying down never hurts unless the mattress doesn't support my back at all. Standing doesn't even hurt as long as it's not on a hard floor for a long time.

However, bending is sometimes impossible, especially as far as to tie my shoes. There hasn't really ever been any pain running down my leg as described with sciatica pain, but my calves do hurt every day. But that has been an ongoing problem throughout my life.

I've never been to have my back checked, because I'm afraid an MRI would cost thousands (and that it not even help as it sounds like many times doctors only work to relieve pain and not the problem). It hasn't been bad enough yet to not be able to deal with. I was just wondering if you may have any idea based on the symptoms as to what I may be dealing with. Thanks for any information you can give.

Hello Robert,
What's good is that it doesn't go down your leg; what's not so fine is that you've had pain for five years. You've lived with this for a long time; too long.

Some lack of understanding has been part of the problem. It's rare that anyone would order an MRI if you have no leg pain. But some xrays are certainly indicated.

It's unlikely to be something serious like cancer, but serious enough to cause you all this pain and disability for five years. That's a long time.

Start asking family and friends, and your doctor, for the name of a local chiropractor who comes highly recommended. This sounds very treatable.

What you will have to accept is that Rome wasn't built in a day, and with five years of pain, daily exercises will be necessary and an occasional, regular treatment. I'm afraid it's unlikely that anyone, chiropractor or otherwise, is going to cure this; fix it so that the pain goes away for ever. Maintenance care and exercises are going to be your lot.

Do it, because it's going to go down your leg in time. You have a fixated joint somewhere in your lower back or pelvis and immobilisation arthritis will set in and eventually affect the sciatic nerve.

You'll find some basic exercises at Chiropractic Help. Start doing them every morning before getting out of bed, and ask your chiropractor which are most pertinent to your case.

Let me know in a month or two how you are getting on.

I hope this has contributed.

Dr B

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